G4S spurns latest GardaWorld advances

Security company hits out at Canadian rival for focusing on ‘legacy issues’ that are mostly ‘resolved’

The board of G4S has rebuffed the advances of GardaWorld once again, rejecting its £3bn takeover offer as “opportunistic” and “clearly inadequate”.

G4S accused GardaWorld, which is backed by European buyout giant BC Partners, of taking advantage of “legacy issues” to bump up support for its bid.

The Canadian company had previously claimed G4S was facing “potentially crippling unresolved lawsuits” worth £1.6bn as it looks to move on from a string of scandals including a botched contract to electronically tag prisoners. 

In response, G4S said these issues “are now substantially resolved” and insisted the offered price of 190p per share significantly undervalued the company.

G4S added that its performance over the last eight months increased its value further. 

It attacked GardaWorld’s track record of reported net losses worth C$940m (£547m) over the last three years, and said that it lacked the “geographic coverage to be a truly global company”. 

G4S’s intervention came after GardaWorld hit out at what it claimed was G4S’s pension liabilities of £2.7bn and the five lawsuits it is currently facing.

G4S rebutted GardaWorld’s claims about its pension scheme, saying that a funding plan had been agreed with trustees. It added that the net deficit of £300m at the end of 2019 reflected responsible company contributions and a strong balance sheet. 

GardaWorld is yet to publish any funding plan for G4S’s pension scheme, and may need to contribute a larger amount given its much higher leverage and sub-investment grade status, according to G4S. 

Schroders, the largest shareholder in G4S with a stake of 10.4pc, has rejected GardaWorld’s initial offer, but said last week it was open to a deal at a “fair price”.

G4S chairman John Connolly told The Telegraph last weekend: “I always think you’ve got to be careful not to be extremely negative about the business that you’re saying you want to acquire.”

A spokesperson for GardaWorld said: “We said we would help shareholders ‘look under the hood’ and that is exactly what we will continue to do. G4S doesn’t appear to be enjoying the scrutiny. As we expect to demonstrate, the future for an independent G4S is not at all as the seven-year incumbent management team are painting it.”

G4S shares were little changed in morning trade at 201.40p. The stock is down 5pc this year.